Tributes to Mikhail Gorbachev

From: Helmut Kohl

“I welcome this opportunity to thank you for all you, as a leader, did for the cause of peace on our planet and to overcome the split of Europe and Germany. Your new thinking as well as perestroika were the basis for the shift in the Soviet policies and created a new future for the peoples of the Soviet Union. Your policy contributed to the victory of the reformatory movements in the then Warsaw Pact countries.

Your name is closely associated with the end of the Cold War and the arms race. The peaceful revolution in the GDR would have been inconceivable without your activity. Without your sagacity and your support of the peoples’ right to self-determination the reunification of Germany would not have occurred. We, the Germans, would never forget and would always be thankful to you for that.”

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From: George Bush Snr

” History will be very generous and kind to you, honoring you for all you did to make our world a more peaceful world for your grandkids and ours. With Glasnost and Perestroika your farsighted vision paved the way for arms reductions, for ending the Cold War, and for bringing to your country a democracy and a market economy that will serve Russia well for years to come. Without your leadership these significant changes that resulted in far better relations between our two countries might not have happened at all. “

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From: Margaret Thatcher

” I am delighted and honoured to be asked to contribute to this celebration for my old friend Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev.
President Gorbachev is undoubtedly one of the great men of our time. His reforms marked the first significant steps in bringing freedom and democracy to Russia and to the other nations of the former Soviet Union. These measures were undertaken in the face of fierce resistance by hardliners and bureaucrats, which would have daunted lesser men. But he persisted, even when it became clear that others might be the ultimate political beneficiaries of his changes.

Bold and far-reaching reforms at home were matched by a new, and completely un-Soviet, willingness to establish friendly and cooperative relations abroad. I well remember my first meetings with Mr. Gorbachev, before he became President. I was struck then and later by his willingness to engage in open and honest debate, rather than merely rely on the traditional Soviet threats and boycotts. It was clear to me, as it quickly became clear to Ronald Reagan – that other great architect of freedom – that Mikhail Gorbachev was a man with whom we could “do business.” And the business which was done resulted in an end to the Cold War, with all the progress that has meant.

But perhaps President Gorbachev’s most important achievement is one that is nowadays easily forgotten: it lies in what he did not do. The classic Soviet response to attempts by the captive nations to break free of Moscow’s control was to send in the tanks. Mr. Gorbachev chose a different path. He proved that he was a true man of peace when he allowed the peoples of Eastern and Central Europe to go their own way in freedom. For this above all he should be remembered as an example of what one man can achieve to change a system and to benefit the world “

From: Shimon Peres Israeli PM and Nobel Prize winner

 
“Gorbachev did something no one before him dared to do, or at the very least, give it a chance – He threw open all the windows and all the doors, allowing fresh air to start flowing through all the pores, throwing in disarray all the bureaucrats who were used to hiding behind barred windows and locked doors.

It is interesting to note that Gorbachev is not a typical revolutionary. He is not a bitter man, he is not a distrustful person (he is certainly not overly suspicious, at times even insufficiently so), he is not jealous by nature, he is not narrow-minded. He even does not act like a demagogue, but rather as a constructive visionary.

When Gromyko presented himself as a candidate for Soviet Russia’s leadership, he said that one should not he too impressed by Gorbachev’s appearance. “He has,” he said, “iron teeth.” I have to admit that since I met Gorbachev, I did not notice metal in his teeth, but if at all, I did perceive gold in his heart.

Indeed, neither did he use revolutionary tactics, namely: he did not try to impose, by sheer force, the viewpoint of the few on that of the many. He should be described, more accurately, as a great political doctor: he uncovered malignant diseases in the system, and attempted to cure them with much human empathy. The patient became weaker, but stayed alive, with a good chance of recuperating.

The revolution Gorbachev initiated and headed is, in my opinion, one of the three greatest revolutions of the XX century. The first revolution is the collapse of the Soviet Union, enabling the world to become one. Without the Cold War, without competing powers prepared to fuel regional hostilities to triumph in the ongoing conflict of one with the other. Since the fall of communism, the tendency of the powers is to bring peace, rather than claim triumphs. “

From: Boutros Boutros Ghali. Former UN Secretary General

“Through his Foundation, Mikhail Gorbatchev continues his tireless work in favour of peace and achieving a better understanding between nations. He is a tireless champion of peace and justice.
I take this opportunity to convey my sincere congratulations to Mikhail Gorbatchev, whose wisdom and experience continues to be of enormous importance to the international community. “

Sri Chinmoy

Gorbachev: The Master-Key Of The Universal Heartby Sri Chinmoy. A book dedicated to President Mikhail Gorbachev